The Marich Pole

The Marich Pole was commissioned to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Marich House, an historic property in Florenceville-Bristol, NB.

In March 2020, after a province wide competition, Stephen Hutchings sculpture The Marich Pole was selected to be the next public art installation for the Town. Fun and playful in its feeling and mood, celebratory of local history and local achievement, The Marich Pole makes history accessible and alive for residents and visitors alike.

“The maquette, pictured at left, is a model of the final sculpture. The final artwork will be a celebration of the long history of the Marich House and its significance to the town and community”.

“By identifying the shapes on the pole, viewers of all ages—from daycare toddlers, to students, to seniors out for a stroll—will be able to piece together their own understanding of the history and importance of Marich House and early Bristol”.

“The vertical sculpture will also act as a Sundial, its shadow arcing across the ground during the day, creating different shapes as the sun passes overhead, marking the passing of time—quite befitting for a sculpture whose main theme is a celebration of history!” Stephen Hutchings.

“There are two portraits near the bottom of the pole: one of the first resident, Winifred Phillips, and his daughter Mary Findlay. The flowers reference the extensive flower beds and greenhouses that flourished on the site; and a teapot and tea cups that represent fine china, a hallmark of the shop for many years. The old-style chairs represent the style of furniture that was sold in the retail shop and probably used by the occupants for many years. The chairs also denote conversation, relaxation, work, dining—foundations for what makes a community”.

“The horse refers to the livery stable that thrived early on in the house’s history. The light bulb denotes the first electric power in the area—generated by the Marich House for its own use and that of the nearby Baptist Church (now Second Wind Music Centre). Near the top is the water tower, a landmark in its own right, and the source for water and power in the early days of the house. The water tower sports a shamrock in reference to its current iteration as the Shamrock Suites B&B. And, of course, perched at the top of the pole are a couple of images of the house itself—much as the real house sits high on the nearby cliff looking down on Main Street and the river”.

“The colour refers both to the river as it is seen in summer, as well as to the snow shadows of winter. The colours will make the sculpture highly visible during all seasons and against the greens of summer and the whites of winter”.

After refining the design, the pieces were cut out of steel at Craig Manufacturing in Hartland, NB. After being painted at Stephen Graham’s, the sculpture is loaded onto a flat bed, and installed at Riverside Park on June 19, 2020.

The sculpture is thirty feet tall, made of steel with fourteen large, eight-foot-high steel shapes attached to a central pole. The pole provides the sculpture with its height and strength; the shapes highlight various aspects of the house’s history, forming, as such, a vertical story-boar.